Tag Archives: Fall

Fall Forward

I’m finalizing what seems like a very busy schedule for fall workshops, and I’ll post complete details with links on my “Workshops” page soon. They’re all available for registration now, with “Monotype Portfolio”, my newly re-named workshop for advanced beginners and beyond, up first.

Monotype Portfolio, which is intended for those who’ve had a basic printmaking course, or perhaps some college experience back in the day, begins Monday, Sept 11, and continues for four weeks after that, making it very affordable and a nice fit for those glorious early fall evenings. Quick refreshers on color and using the press are given to start, then we jump into Chine Colle’, layered prints and advanced registration techniques, and framing, if the class is interested. It is intended for those who might like to execute a series, or perhaps enter a show.

After that, there are both daytime and evening sessions of Monotype Starter, my re-named beginner’s basics workshop, and then back to Portfolio after the Holidays.There is a Saturday Monotype Blast, and a Moxie U sampler as well.

Denver Public Library workshops are back, too, with free 1 1/2 hour drop-in workshops for the family beginning in September and running at various branches all fall, ending just before the Holidays. Other events may be added.

I’m also going to have a rarely-seen large piece in a show at the State Capitol, though I don’t have details on that yet. Click on “Contact Me” if you have questions about any of these, or come back for updates

“Ice Storm” Monotype, 15×11″, 2016. It’s been a very pleasant summer, and I’m not trying to rush it away, but perhaps a bit of creativity and good conversation in the big bright ASLD print room might warm up the chilly days to come?

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Falling Into Old Habits

Montage of monotype studies done, September 2015. I'm trying some new techniques, and exploring how they fit in with older techniques.
Montage of monotype studies done, September 2015. I’m trying some new techniques, and exploring how they fit in with older techniques.

I’m slowly ( once a week right now) getting going in the studio again as other commitments drop away. Hello, fall! I’m re-taking up watercolor, too, which has a similar subtractive composition to printmaking. In simpler terms, the whites- and thus the full range of values- disappears the more paint or ink you add. So planning, restraint and mindfulness are important.

This is a montage of some of the sketches and studies I’ve printed in the last three weeks. I didn’t put a lot of effort into clean, professional finish and composition, so it’s likely the last time these will see the light of day. But I’ll start putting some of ideas into finished works soon. I’m really excited to be making pictures again!

Reading list:

Ten Years in the Tub, Nick Hornby. Sub titled: “A Decade Spent Soaking in Great Books”. I made mention of The Polysllyabic Spree, a slim volume of Hornby’s somewhat irreverent Believer Magazine columns on reading. I didn’t know they’d later published a large volume encompassing 10 years, until I ran across it browsing in the library, so I snapped it up. Don’t know that I’ll write anything more about it, or when I’ll finish it now that I’ve stopped riding the train everyday with the end of my temp job at the bookstore. But- reading about reading, what’s not to like?

McSweeney’s #29: I’m nearly finished with #48, one of my favorite issues so far. So I grabbed this one for $6 at my favorite used bookstore. How I can tell it’s my favorite bookstore: they buy up old issues of McSweeney’s and sell them for $6. In my home, good short stories are now considered a staple, like sugar, coffee and bacon. Wine! Did I forget wine? Wine.

 

Time Machine

Do you Instagram? If so, follow me at @JoeHigginsMonotypes. I enjoy posting Instagrams from museums, where there are often many architectural subjects to explore. This one was taken at the Clifford Still Museum.
Do you Instagram? If so, follow me at @JoeHigginsMonotypes. I enjoy posting Instagrams from museums, where there are often many architectural subjects to explore. This one was taken at the Clifford Still Museum.

September! It’s the best month for a vacation, don’t you think? When I had a regular job, I always reserved a couple of weeks in September for traveling, or just for hanging around the house or in museums. But one casualty of the creative life is often free time. Make no mistake- I’m free to schedule my time, and I enjoy that. But the necessity of creating cash flow to pay off previous health, framing or other business costs when sales don’t cover them often leads to a lack of unscheduled  time, especially during prime months.

Today is a beautiful day and an unexpected day off. My temp job at the bookstore will not need me to cover vacations till next week. I am trying to catch up a few tasks today, and then I’m giving myself a vacation, too. I’ll need it! I have another job coming behind this one that will be interesting- fabricating art for installations here and in other cities. But it will again make downtime scarce.

Artists also need to schedule studio time, and it’s easy to put on the back burner, especially when paying debts off. But again, the ability to give myself regular studio time doesn’t feel like obligation- it feels like freedom. It’s necessary, and art work suffers when I don’t print regularly, but creative hours don’t constrain the mind; they actually stretch it.

I’m lucky- and grateful- that some of my various part-time jobs actually help me to engage my creative life. I checked my 4-week monotype workshop and it just barely filled. So vacation postponed for Tuesday, and part of Wednesday too, as I have a DPL workshop at Schlessman Library that evening. However, the workshops will be a return to art in an unusually important sense for me. I recently alluded to the notion of writing about books in my posts to process what they mean to me. The same is true of teaching printmaking. My monotype workshops are intended to address the frustrations of trying to incorporate our creative lives into our daily lives. With that in mind, I try to engender a spirit of camraderie, exploration and spontaneity into the proceedings all while trying to instill disciplined habits and a professional manner in the print room. When there are 7 fellow artists in one studio, one must be mindful. But that mindfulness is a precious gift, to me.

I’m usually rusty after a break from studio anyway ( it’s been over 3 months) so the simple physical act of making demo prints and re-establishing good print room habits is valuable in the sense that body memory is a useful physical discipline. But the conversation will also help me get my mind back to my real work as well. In helping others solve creative problems, I’ll loosen up my own creative muscles. I often stay after my class and work on my own things – I have the ink and tools out anyway. I’m hoping to hit the ground running this fall and produce some large work. I’ll try to post more about my various projects this fall, though I really love the book blurbs too, so I’ll be posting those, as well.

But Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week I’m putting down to reading, museums, soccer and puttering about the house. The weather should be good, and my last big paycheck will arrive Friday. It’s been a long, productive summer (except art making) so I’m going to reap my reward: time. Studio time is as valuable as a glass of wine and a good book in warm golden September sun, and I’m going to try to get a little of both before the first frost hits.